Pathways High School Principal Jared Herron is accustomed to alternative approaches to the traditional learning environment.
Experienced in focusing on student progress outside of the classroom, Herron is set to serve as the principal of Kenowa Hills Online Learning Academy this school year.
About 25 percent of Kenowa Hills students – around 750 – have opted for virtual learning this year, 75 percent have chosen to attend in person.
The first week of school, which began on August 31, focused on accessing technology and developing a virtual community.
âOur hope is that students adapt quickly and easily if they move into the classroom at the end of the semester,â Herron said.
KHOLA’s goals include providing students with grade-level content, individual and small group support, and concern for physical and emotional health.
District staff developed the K-5 curriculum through Canvas and will serve as a mentor and support for 6 to 12 students learning online through Edgenuity.
High school students also have the opportunity to take electives in-person such as STEM, group, and orchestra.
According to the district’s back-to-school plan, weekly mentoring and two-way communication, as well as one-on-one support as needed, will be provided to virtual students.
A new era
While some teachers at Alpine Elementary and Pathways deliver their lessons online, some teachers at KHOLA run the lessons both online and in person.
âSeating time is not the most important thing for students,â said Sabrina Ricardo, a Pathways 9-12 teacher. âOnline learning provides the space to be creative in how we reach students and gives them the opportunity to take charge of their own learning. ”
Prior to the development of the online academy, Wendy Maxwell’s one-on-one interactions with Alpine Elementary students were limited to those in her grade one class. In her virtual classroom, she will be working with all online freshmen and their families, and said she looks forward to these connections.
Herron said the goal is for KHOLA to serve as an extension of classroom learning and rigorous home lessons.
âOur feedback on this program from our families with young learners has been positive,â Herron said. âStudents can work at their own pace and parents can be present to facilitate learning, while adapting to their work and family schedules. ”
Ricardo sees all the changes and restructuring needed to accommodate learning due to the pandemic as an opportunity for educators to be heard.
âThis new era of learning opens the door for teachers to shine,â she said. âWe work hard to teach our students and we need to be recognized as creative professionals. “